Monday, April 30, 2012

Melanie Pritchard's Survival Story

The 700 Club is airing the miraculous survival story of the beautiful Catholic speaker, Melanie Pritchard.

If you have not heard of her before, Melanie is an ardent pro-life speaker known in many Catholic circles. When she was giving birth to her second child (pictured at right), Melanie suffered a rare embolism combined with other life-threatening complications and was given a zero percent chance of survival before being restored to life through the power of God. She has been featured on EWTN's Life on the Rock as well.

Check out the 700 Club link here:

Read an article about her here-

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The May 1st Uprising Is Nonsense, Don't Get Involved

A bank in Seattle was apparently firebombed in "preparation" for a May 1st uprising being promoted by Occupy movements across the US. Think this is a grassroots, innocent group that just wants a little peace and justice? Think again.

Read the article about the Seattle bank here.

The Occupy movements who are planning to gear up again on May 1st are well-run, and well-funded organizations with one goal in mind: anarchy which leads to total chaos. They claim to want to tear down the system so true "equality" can reign but their methods are only to bring fear, destruction and insanity.

Don't get involved. It's not an innocent group of people.

Yes, our country has problems and yes, there is inequality and suffering but it's not the direct fault of a capitalism, it's the result of sin. Think a communist answer would solve the problem? It won't. Ask the people in North Korea how that's working for them. Oh right, we can't. They are under total control of a dictator and are starving to death.

Let's offer May 1st, The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Patron of the Family and Terror of Demons, as a day of prayer and reparation.  Let us pray for his protection, guidance and direction on what it means to be a true worker and restorer of peace.

Participating in violent uprisings will only bring war and more suffering. And there are many people in society who want just that. Why? So they can seize more power themselves. That method of resolution has never worked and it never will.

Remain steady, hold fast to the truth. Let's not be useful idiots. Don't believe the hype.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Jim Wallis Doesn't Know What He Is Talking About

Jim Wallis, spiritual adviser to President Obama and a leftist "social justice" supporter, has spoken out recently against the Vatican (not a surprise, really) saying that the Vatican is wrong to want to reform the LCWR.

Read the entire article here

I would like to address a specific comment of his-

 The sisters may be the most positive face of the Catholic Church today, and they are keeping people in the Church who would have given up on the all-male hierarchy long ago. These women are often the ones at the core of Jesus’ ministry, building relationships with the poor and vulnerable and most concretely offering the love of God. If you had a referendum on whom the best faith and moral teachers are in many local communities and parishes around the country, it would likely be the women who are now under attack. That is the sad situation here and the serious mistake being made by the Vatican.
The Church is very concerned about these sisters losing focus on abortion. But, most I know still feel abortion is a terrible moral tragedy and do whatever they can to reduce them. Their approach, however, is to support low-income women, which actually reduces abortion, instead of mostly legislative strategies that could just push abortions into back alleys. And perhaps the sisters would also rather minister to gay and lesbian people with the love of Christ instead of just telling them they are wrong and unacceptable.
When the Vatican said that issues like poverty are more important to the sisters than issues like sexuality, they are probably right. But from a biblical point of view, the sisters may be right and the Vatican wrong. The Bible is much clearer on the Christian imperative to serve the poor and stand for justice than it is on same-sex marriage or exactly when full human life begins. I, for one, miss the leadership of Catholic bishops like the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin who taught a “consistent ethic of life” and a “seamless garment” that defends life and dignity wherever it is threatened, from abortion on demand to poverty, the death penalty, and nuclear weapons.

 This is another case of misguided "divide and conquer" and I am not convinced this man knows enough about Catholic social teaching to warrant comments like this. 

In the social teachings of the Church, the defense and protection of life is the number one pillar of social justice. Everything else flows from that. This does not mean that all sisters need to be down at Planned Parenthood protesting or only engage in works that are directly involved in the right to life. 

It does mean that we as sisters, as brides of Christ, authentically assimilate and transmit the true teachings of Jesus. No one, including the Vatican, is criticizing the sisters of the LCWR for working with the poor or protesting the death penalty. Don't be deluded by these claims of the mass media, it simply is NOT true at all. 

The concern of the Vatican is the life-style and lack of assimilation of the entire life of Christ by many of those communities. Many of these communities have openly attacked the Church, supported organizations that destroy the order and sanctity of life and have aligned themselves with causes that are not part of the life that we, as sisters, have vowed to embrace. Do some research on this topic and you will see for yourself what is really going on. 

In the end, we must, as Haymitch tells Katniss, "Remember who the enemy is." The enemy here is not Jim Wallis (even though I think he is agenda-driven and misguided) or the LCWR or the Vatican or people on the left or the right. The enemy in all of our lives is sin which we must constantly turn to Jesus and ask for healing. Only through true repentance, conversion and redemption do we have any hope of living the fullness of life Jesus promised. 

Piano Man on a Friday

Check out this awesome vid of a six-year-old boy playing "Piano Man" with his dad. For more details about this little boy's life, click on the link under the video

Thank you, Canada!

I just wanted to say a special thank you to the staff and awesome students at the high schools in Canada who welcomed me so kindly these past couple of days. You are all in my prayers. You matter and you are loved!

Thanks :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Reformation of the LCWR

Two days ago, after assessing the evidence gathered by investigation of religious life in the United States, the Vatican announced that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), needs a reform. The Vatican listed doctrinal and practical issues at the heart of the mandate for reform. (as an aside, my SOLT community is NOT a part of this organization. We are members of the other organization the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, CMSWR) 

This mandate for reform will potentially be a very explosive situation. I am personally glad that Archbishop Sartain has been chosen to lead this reform, he has a special charism which I believe will help in the healing of this process.

Allow me, as a religious sister, to say a few things about this mandate and the situation of the women in the LCWR.

First of all, don't believe the hype of the mainstream media. You will most likely read stories that this is yet another "war on women" by a male hierarchy or that it is another example of the Church imposing itself upon the private lives of people. None of that is true.

Let's be really honest, religious life in the United States has changed dramatically in the past 50 years. And although reform was needed, religious habits were "modified" and further exploration was taken into new forays of service for the women, not all of this has been good. The number of women religious in America has dropped dramatically in the past 50 years and people are left scratching their heads and wondering, "Why?"

What we find today in many religious orders is that the women no longer live or pray together in community, they no longer wear an identifiable habit and many are teaching and professing beliefs that are not part of the Catholic Church. Their communities are dwindling and new members are hard to come by.

What many people don't want to talk about is the fact that the newer communities who do live and pray in community, wear an identifiable habit, teach and profess beliefs that are at the heart of the Church (which we call being faithful to the Magisterium of the Church) are growing. They are attracting young, vibrant, educated women. Obviously this is saying something loud and clear.

It seems to me that the former situation is what many communities within the LCWR are facing. And there are many women in this organization who are honestly seeking to serve the church and attract new members to their communities and are confused as to why things don't seem to be working. However, their method of trying to answer the confusion doesn't seem to be getting them anywhere.

So the question is, "What is at the heart of religious life?"

Is religious life merely a group of women gathered together to serve the Church? Are they social workers? Are they individuals seeking personal fulfillment who happen to be part of the Catholic church? Are they somehow free to redefine doctrine and teach whatever they want because they bear the title "sister?"

The answer to all of the above is no.

The heart of religious life is a marriage, body and soul, to Jesus Christ. We are Brides of Christ. This is most fundamental reality of religious life and who we are. From that relationship flows everything else. We are Brides of Christ within a Church founded by Him.

Rather than the Vatican forcing reformation on a group of women (which is read by many as "these power- hungry men are trying to force women to do what they want and conform to a powerless ways of life"), the Vatican is merely pointing out that the communities in the LCWR have a dysfunctional marriage.

How could a couple remain happily married if one of them was unfaithful and not interested in repairing the relationship? What if one of them kept on attacking the other, speaking out against their Beloved and refusing to allow anyone to look at the issues?  That marriage wouldn't last and we know it.

There will always be conflict and tension between men and women, between family members, on this side of heaven. Nothing is perfect. But we do have a choice.

When you say you are a sister, you profess that you have made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to your community in service of the Church at large and to all God's people. You are giving your ultimate "yes" to life, true love and service.

No one is forced to become a sister and enter religious life. Jesus is the one who asks, who proposes, but even He doesn't force Himself upon a woman. In fact, this commitment is so serious that it takes anywhere from 8-10 years for a woman to complete formation, profess first vows, and then make final vows. A woman has plenty of time to discern this call from Jesus and if she wants to embrace it and everything it entails. It's not an easy life whatsoever but to those who are called, this life showers the beauty of heaven upon earth.

It is a life worth living and it is worth living well.

Much healing needs to take place in all of our hearts. Authentic discipleship leads us along the path of daily conversion away from our brokenness and toward Jesus, The Man. We are all servants of the Truth.

So, before this issue gets too big, I invite you to think about it logically and reasonably. Pray for Archbishop Sartain and his assistants. Pray for the women of the LCWR and pray for all Catholics.

We need to make a choice. We will stand firm with the Truth or will we be washed out to sea?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Archbishop Sartain To Lead Reform of LCWR

Our very own Archbishop Peter Sartain has been chosen by the Vatican to oversee the investigation and reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Read the article here.

Let us pray for Archbishop Sartain and all involved, this will not be easy. I will post something about this issue soon.

The Test of Fire...

Check out this cool video from Catholics Called To Witness:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Redefinition of Rights?

A reader posted a thoughtful and interesting comment on the Referendum 74 post this morning. I was going to just respond to that post personally but as I thought about it throughout the day, I thought I would write a separate post about it.

Here is the comment: Sister – thank you very much for your thoughts on this. While I agree that what you say is the truth, I struggle with the issue of using political means to obtain religious ends. “Marriage is a covenant, not a contract.” While true, the secular world treats it as a contract and will continue to do so no matter what it’s called (marriage, civil union, etc.). As you pointed out in the video, people wonder why they need a piece of paper to tell them that they’re married. Restoring marriage won’t change this attitude of secular society, they will only see it as redefinition because they see marriage as a contract, not a covenant. The Church gave up control of marriage when it allowed civil authorities to perform marriage ceremonies outside the Church and without a priest; regaining control in this realm is unlikely.

Should the Church continue to proclaim the Truth and insist on marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman? Yes, it should. Will doing so cause civil authorities to adopt this definition of marriage? Most likely not. Even if civil authorities DID adopt the Church’s definition of marriage, it would be a semantic victory only: adoption agencies would still adopt children to same-sex couples, civil authorities will still perform “civil unions” for same-sex couples and traditional marriage will still be regarded as a contract by the vast majority of secular society. Referendums will not produce the change of heart necessary to alter people’s thinking about marriage (and abortion, and contraception, etc.); only by accepting Christ and the teachings of the Church will people’s hearts change.

I think this person makes some good points here that I will address and add some things maybe we can think about more deeply.

Is Referendum 74 a political means of obtaining religious ends? To answer this question I think we would have to closely examine the role of the church and state. We in America have a severe allergy to any seeming encroachment of the church upon the state and vice versa. And in a certain, sense, rightfully so. The church needn't dally in the business of , say, the day to day economic decisions of the government, and nor does the state have have any business legislating morality of its own making. Is marriage between a man and woman merely a religious good or is it a societal good as well? Is this issue merely about control of marriage or about something much deeper?

I think the commenter is right when he mentions that even though the church continues to proclaim that marriage is a covenant, not a contract, the plausibility of the state adopting that definition is slim. True. Even if we overturned Roe v Wade today, it doesn't mean that people would automatically refer to the creation inside the womb as a child, many people would still choose to refer to that creation as "a bunch of cells". Law do not produce change of heart, indeed.

However, language, words and laws do matter. For when a law is passed, it is deemed by the people as permissible and ethical. People put faith in laws. Symantics and words that are used do matter. The state's job is to enforce and create laws that are ethical, not create ethics themselves. They do not have the wherewithall to do such things. The church is the guardian of what is moral and ethical, we do not create ethics either- only interpret and safeguard the teaching of Christ.

At the heart of the new evangelization is the person-to-person witness. As we authentically stand up for the truth, we spread the light of Christ.Yes, we may lose this temporal, legal battle with the state over its desire to "redefine" marriage but the truth is that marriage will never be redefined. No one has the power to do that. As we engage in the respectful proclamation of the truth, it at least forces people to look at what they really believe; consider how much discussion has come out of the healthcare mandate debate.

Many people criticized Mother Teresa for her seemingly worthless work with the poor. They criticized her for working person to person and caring for the sick and dying. They told her she was wasting her time and that she would never cure poverty doing something like that. But she kept going- remaining attentive to the individual person, igniting the fire of Christ wherever she went. She knew the dignity of the person and she never gave up. We too, will never give up. We will be mocked, scourged and crucified but we will never give up for we know the deep dignity of every human person.

Thanks for all of your thoughts, comments and questions.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

NFL Team Seeking A Few Good Wives....

Love this story!

“If you’re happy at home with your wife at home, I think the energy level is higher,” Jaguars' coach Mularkey said “It’s very important to me … There’s a lot that goes with being married. I just believe the happier you are with your wife, the happier you are on the field. I really believe that.”

Read more....

Referendum 74: Safeguarding the Sanctity of Marriage

Voters in Washington State- please sign Referendum 74 and help safeguard the sanctity of marriage. My deep respect goes out Archbishop Sartain and Bishop Elizondo for their support of this Referendum and for speaking the truth.

Here are some thoughts from me in video form--

 *Edit- when I am speaking about proper order, I meant to write intellect and will, not intellect and reason. Our intellect is ordered to know the truth and our will is ordered to choose the truth which is good. All of our faculties need healing to be ordered toward the true Good who is God.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Easter :)

Happy Easter to everyone!

He is truly risen. Jesus' resurrection changes everything. His resurrection is not a nice story to tell children but a real event that changed the course of history.

Jesus came in the flesh, died in the flesh and rose in the flesh. He redeems us. We have nothing to fear.

 May we continue to walk with courage into His life this Easter season.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Hunger Games

I just saw the Hunger Games today. It's a very interesting but horrifying social commentary.

Here is Fr. Barron's take on it:

Monday, April 02, 2012

A Hopeful Holy Week...

A friend of mine and I were talking a few weeks ago about how easy it is to become discouraged when looking at the world and seeing all that is wrong within it. We see so much brokenness and corruption, sin and sorrow. And perhaps the temptation creeps into our thoughts, "why even bother?"

This week gives us the answer. The same struggles we see today in the world are of the same root that have been present in the heart of man since after the Fall. It has been such and while we still live in this imperfect world, it will be such. We will always struggle against our imperfection and the imperfection of the world. But we are not alone.

The answer to the question of, "why even bother?" is Jesus. His life and death for us reveals a deep mystery of love. He bothered, you know? How many people live their lives without caring about God or the larger mystery in which we live, but God never stops loving. His love is not dependent upon our behavior. His love just is. His love is an invitation.

So often God is reduced to myth and sentiment, a caricature for the "weak" of this world. Without Jesus as ultimate Truth, life becomes a competition of opinions, each trying to best the other, in a grasp for power and control. This never fares well, as history repeatedly shows us. We are not the authors nor finishers of this life or the life to come. We do not create out of nothing. We do not make the sun rise in the morning and set in the evening. Someone greater than ourselves has created all these things and has designed a way of life for our ultimate happiness. Do we have the eyes to see? and to be receptive of the One who seeks to give Himself to and for us?

May this Holy Week be one of wonder and discovery. May it be a time of deep silence and desire. May we open our hearts more fully to the One who loves us.